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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Nate Appleman's New York Restaurant Pulino's Sounds Suspiciously Like SPQR

Posted By on Wed, May 5, 2010 at 9:41 AM

After all the smack talk, has Appleman created a sort of East Coast clone? - CARMEN D./YELP
  • Carmen d./Yelp
  • After all the smack talk, has Appleman created a sort of East Coast clone?
Ever since he hopped a train east, chef Nate Appleman, formerly of SPQR and A16, has been savaging his old city's scene with the thoroughness and dedication of a bitter ex. Just two weeks ago, Jonathan Kauffman reported on a 7x7 piece in which Appleman dismisses these distant, foggy digs from his new perch at Pulino's Bar & Pizzeria on Bowery at Houston: "[In New York] there's a lot of confidence ― you just have to worry about what you're doing, [whereas in San Francisco] there's too much concern about what everyone else is doing."

San Francisco may be the rank durian to New York's shimmering heirloom, but in the case of Pulino's, it doesn't seem like the Appleman has fallen far from the tree. Sam Sifton's New York Times review of Pulino's dropped today. He likes Pulino's a lot, which we have to say we probably would too judging by the descriptions:

He makes menacing fingers of pork fat and skin into fancy chicharrones, with a sweet, acidic pear mostarda to cut into their salty, velvet crunch. He shaves bottarga into a dressing for smoked sablefish with celery, capers and dill, a nice nod to the neighbors at Russ & Daughters, champions of such flavors. Red cabbage comes in a tangle with roasted sunchokes that might be pancetta, and actual pancetta alongside that, with oranges scented with honey, all salted with pecorino.

Sifton goes on:

His cooking is simple and brash, as American as it is inflected with Italian flavors, rustic in the sense that it comes out of smoky, wood-assisted ovens, and urban for the very same reason.

Sounds not dramatically unlike a little restaurant we went to back in 2008 called SPQR.

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